Michigan Students Sign "Student "Bill of Rights" at Generation With Promise Youth Summit 2009

Contact: Pam Woodley (313) 456-2524
Agency: Community Health

April 10, 2009

DETROIT - Michigan Surgeon General Kimberlydawn Wisdom, M.D., hosted more than 200 middle school students and their adult allies from 16 schools for the Generation With Promise Youth Summit 2009 held at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn on Tuesday, March 31.

The students are members of their schools' Student Action Teams (SATs) from Benton Harbor, Detroit, Pontiac, Hamtramck and Highland Park. They were joined by their schools' Coordinated School Health Teams (CSHTs). Participants enjoyed a fun-filled day of interactive experiences and leadership training focused on making healthy lifestyle choices.

"The leadership lessons you have learned today and the action plans you are working on will mean healthier lives for you, your families, your schools and your communities," Dr. Wisdom told the students. "I hope you remember the leadership skills you learned today and work together in your student action teams to move more, eat better and not smoke."

Facilitators from the Youth and Community Program at the University of Michigan School of Social Work charged the students with identifying problems in their schools related to eating and physical activity. The SATs made presentations that included solutions on how they could influence school policy to make the changes necessary for a healthier school environment.

They came up with ideas that would allow for extra physical education during the day, healthier school lunch menus and making their campuses smoke-free. As a group, the 200-plus students wrote individual letters to Dr. Wisdom and also signed a "Student Bill of Rights" that they will deliver to state lawmakers on May 7.

Students also participated in an Adventure Challenge Teambuilding Program presented by S.T.E.P.S., Inc. They were charged with several complex scenarios that they used strategic thinking and teamwork to solve.

Students received a certificate for completing the leadership training signed by Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm and Dr. Wisdom.

GWP is a $5-million initiative funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and led by Dr. Wisdom and a multidisciplinary team organized through the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). The project links Gov. Granholm's Cities of Promise initiative in underserved communities with MDCH and the "Michigan Steps Up" healthy lifestyles initiative. The four-year project empowers Student Action Teams to drive change related to health priorities for their schools.

In addition to the Cities of Promise, other "Generation With Promise" partners are the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health & Sports/Michigan Fitness Foundation, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Action for Healthy Kids Coalition, Cities of Promise, Detroit, Wayne, Oakland, and Berrien county health departments, Healthy Kids Healthy Michigan Coalition, Henry Ford Health System, the Michigan State University Extension, University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

Schools attending the Youth Summit included Burns Elementary/Middle School, Hutchins/McMichael Elementary/Middle School, J.F. Nichols Elementary School, Taft Middle School, Trix Elementary/Middle School, Greenfield Union Elementary/Middle School, Mark Twain School & Academy, Ronald McNair Technical Middle School, Murphy Elementary/Middle School, Phoenix Multicultural Academy and Peter Vetal Elementary/Middle School-all in Detroit; two GWP schools from Benton Harbor, Fair Plain Renaissance Middle School and Hull Middle School; Madison Middle School in Pontiac; Kosciuszko Middle School in Hamtramck; and Barber School of the Gifted and Talented in Highland Park.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 "to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations." The Foundation targets its grants toward specific areas, including health, food systems and rural development, youth and education, and philanthropy and volunteerism. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.

For further information, please visit the Foundation's Web site at www.wkkf.org.